As ironic as it may sound, nothing makes a statement in the modern car scene as a classic car. Car enthusiasts buying classic vehicles more often than not try restoring them to bring back those nostalgic memories. However, if you plan on using these vehicles as daily drivers, you would first want to incorporate some modern technology to make the ride and the experience within the vehicle a little more comfortable.
The best part in doing so is you can still preserve the glory and essence it once had when it came out of the factory while embracing some modern technology in your classic. Below I shall be highlighting 7 of the best modern upgrades that would leave your classic running like a modern car.
1. Upgrading Your Air Conditioning System
Some classic vehicles do not have an air conditioning system, and if they do, it probably doesn’t work anymore or doesn’t function as effectively as you would want it to. If you reside in an area that generally has a hot climate, upgrading your air conditioning is a worthwhile decision to enjoy those rides in your classic.
Most modern vehicles use the R134 air conditioning system for regulating temperatures. This system comes in 4 major components that include a compressor, condenser, evaporator, and expansion valve.
Currently, there are online performance stores that deal in specific kits to install a modern air conditioning system in your classic. Upgrading your old air conditioning to one that runs more efficiently and doesn’t put a stain on your engine is the best decision you could make.
2. Swapping or Replacing Your Engine
Purchasing a classic vehicle has its risks. The availability of mechanical parts, especially engine parts, is one of the most significant ones. At some point, these parts need to be replaced or rebuilt at some point. Sadly if the parts are no longer available or the manufacturer is no longer in business, your classic vehicle investment can be deemed worthless.
The best way to get around this is by swapping your old engine for a new one. You would not only no longer have to worry about the limited availability of parts but also get a more powerful and efficiently running engine.
3. Upgrading to Disk Brakes
One of the best safety upgrades you would add to your classic vehicle is adding disc brakes. Most classics manufactured more than 30 years ago came with drum brakes in all four wheels or two at the back wheels.
Drum brake assemblies were previously preferred to disk brakes as they offered better braking power in an emergency. However, as cars got faster, drum brakes would often heat up due to their closed design structure that didn’t encourage airflow to cool the brakes off. In addition to this, drum brakes would often require constant adjustments, replacing, cleaning and would wear out faster.
Luckily upgrading to disk brakes is much easier nowadays as most vendors sell these kits. Disk brakes offer superior braking and improve the wheel aesthetics of your vehicle.
4. Upgrading to Power Steering
All cars manufactured in 1951 did not come with power steering. A power steering system is a labor-saving invention that makes turning the steering a lot easier than the previously used hydraulic steering system. By modern-day standards, driving without is not only dangerous but is also challenging.
Maneuvering a classic vehicle without power steering can be particularly difficult to do in tight spaces like parking in a crowded area or driving through the city when it’s packed by other cars.
Upgrading to a power steering system is one of the best things to do to make your ride more comfortable. In doing so, making turns would be effortless, and you will also cut back on your fuel consumption as the system components are much lighter.
5. Installing a Modern Engine Fan
Older cars have engine-driven fans. This means that they kick in and turn off depending on the speed you are driving at, making it a little less effective.
When driving into a headwind, these fans would turn on even though they are not needed at that particular moment. The headwind alone was sufficient to cool your engine. On the contrary, when caught in a tailwind or going up a hill at low speeds where the airflow is not enough to cool the engine, they would turn off. These fans would slow down, making engine temperatures rise and possibly overheat. This was a major flaw in the design.
In modern fans, however, both the engine bay and radiator are equipped with temperature sensors. They are programmed in such a way that when the temperatures reach a certain point, the fan automatically kicks. Switching out the engine-driven fan and replacing it with a modern electric one will leave your engine cooler and operating at optimal temperatures.
6. Upgrading To an Electronic Ignition System
A points ignition system was the only ignition system before the 1980s. In this design, the ignition coil is turned on and off by contact points. With time, the contact points will wear out, causing starting and performance problems. In addition to this, this system incorporated more moving parts which increased the chance of mechanical failure.
With the electronic ignition system, however, you get a more reliable ignition system that has far fewer moving parts decreasing your chances of getting stranded.
7. Radial tires
Most classic vehicles were fitted with Bias-Ply tires that were designed with cords that created a cross pattern. This tire design would generate a lot of heat that would wear them down pretty quickly, limiting your traction.
Modern radial tires are designed with cords running in one direction and do not intersect. This eliminates the problems associated with bias-ply tires and provides better traction, steering, and handling capabilities.
If you still want your classic to have the old bias-ply look, you are in luck as there are some companies that make radial tires that have the old bias-ply-look.
Classic cars, especially Italian ones, are a beauty to look at and a statement to drive. Luckily with modern upgrades, you can now make your classic handle better, drive comfortably and perform like it’s straight out of the factory.
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